Erica Walker, MA, LSW: Program Manager
How quickly summer flies by! I hope everyone has been able to take in some sun, fresh air and natural surroundings; as fall approaches, attention turns towards preparing for a new school year and a fresh start to program. It’s a time of transition, as we recognize and thank outgoing AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps State volunteers for their dedication and service to Chicago HOPES for Kids, and welcome new AmeriCorps members to take up the reins and bring their unique contributions to the program.
We are also very excited about HOPES extending our reach across Chicago. We are excited to bring our program to two new shelters, Believe and Good News Partners. They are as far from one another as can be, geographically: Believe is located in South Chicago on the far southeast side, while Good News Partners is located in Rogers Park, just south of the border with Evanston.
Also, some new initiatives piloted during summer will be incorporated into program for fall, including new data tracking strategies, a literacy database developed by partners at University of Chicago, and program features developed by Collaborative Classroom to encourage positive community building and healthy social-emotional development. Daily group circles will kick off every program day, enabling kids to build their positive engagement skills,and learn to listen to others and to share ideas and opinions. Reading logs designed for simple, daily, universal use helps kids build awareness of their literacy gains, and celebrate their growth.
It’s nice to know that all of the work we put in between semesters comes alive when program begins, and kids are engaged and learning in the environment we create with care and intention. Thank you for supporting Chicago HOPES for Kids; best wishes for fall, and for the new school year!